Air quality review and assessment annual report 2009

Executive summary

The Environment Act, 1995 places a statutory duty on local authorities to periodically undertake an air quality review and assessment of their area. This involves consideration of present and likely future air quality against health based air quality objectives set out in the Government’s Air Quality Strategy. In areas where air quality objectives are not likely to be met by the relevant target date, local authorities are required to declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and develop an action plan in pursuit of the air quality objectives. 

Thanet District Council undertook the first round of review and assessment of air quality between 1998 and 2000 and there was no requirement to progress to a detailed assessment. It was during the second round as part of an annual progress report that an exceedence area was identified and led to the declaration of Birchington Air Quality Management Area in 2006 and the development of a draft action plan in 2008. The Council completed the first phase of the third round of review and assessment, the Updating and Screening Assessment (USA) in 2006 and 2009. These concluded that there was a requirement to go on to the detailed assessment stage for High Street St Lawrence and Hereson Road, Ramsgate.  

Thanet Council published its third USA in April 2009. It concluded that there was no requirement to undertake a DA for any of the seven pollutants of concern but should consider declaring AQMAs at High Street St Lawrence for nitrogen dioxide and Hereson Road, Ramsgate for 24hr fine particle objective.  

A 12 week consultation followed on the proposed declaration of High Street St Lawrence and Thanet’s second AQMA was declared in April 2010. However, Hereson Road was not declared following the Detailed Assessment which concluded nitrogen dioxide did not exceed the annual mean but the fine particle 24hr mean did. Due to the extensive but temporary building works and roadworks underway during 2008/9 the Council decided to continue with further monitoring to establish whether air quality improved and whether declaration was necessary. Monitoring data from 2009 shows that nitrogen dioxide levels at Hereson Road have reverted back to typical levels and additional triplicate diffusion tubes have been introduced at the worst case receptor from January 2010. Fine particles have returned to typical levels and indicate that the increase seen during 2008 was due to the extensive development in the immediate area and therefore the original Detailed Assessment conclusions remain valid and an AQMA is not proposed at this time but will continue to monitor NO2 concentrations along Hereson Road, Ramsgate at relevant receptor locations to demonstrate continued compliance with the annual mean objective. 

This report considers monitoring data for the period January to December 2009 and assesses the data against the relevant air quality objectives. Diffusion tube data for 2009 confirm there have been eight exceedences of the annual mean NO2 objective; four sites are within the existing AQMAs and the other four have all been subject to Detailed Assessment in the past. Data from the continuous monitoring sites show that there was an exceedence at The Square, Birchington which measured 40ug/m3 within the existing AQMA but there were no other exceedences of the objective at other continuous monitoring locations. 

Consideration has been made of any local development changes, which are likely to have a significant impact on air quality. A number of planning applications for housing and employment developments were approved in 2009 but none were on a scale that warranted air quality assessments. 

Kent’s second Local Transport Plan (LTP) covers the period to the end of 2011 and includes measures, which impact on air quality. The Air Quality Action Plan forms part of the LTP. Kent County Council has started to develop Local Transport Plan 3 (LTP3) which will run from April 2011 until 2016. 

Have used a stricter local bias of 0.92 compared to the national of 0.82 which better reflects local circumstances.